My Collection

For the whole of my life I’ve been “the book girl,” as in, “You know, Bess. The one who reads all the time?” When I downsized my book collection from over 2,000 to under 600, I also went through a bit of an identity crisis. Am I still me without the number one identifier people have used to pinpoint who I am?

That crisis was eventually resolved by moving to Florida where my library delivers books to my door by the dozen.

During the book purge, when most of my collection went to donations, Kevin asked “What about those? Are you going to stop collecting them?”


T’challa, our newest foster.

No, the collection Kevin was pointing to wasn’t kittens (although it might be, if he gets his way).

It was Harry Potter books.

When the HP books started coming out, my mom bought a copy of each one in American and British. Then when I studied abroad, I bought an Italian edition.

By far the weirdest cover I own.

It snowballed from there. Now when my friends and family travel abroad, they bring me back a copy from wherever they’ve been. I pick them up when I travel too, and of course, I collect most of the anniversary and special editions.

I have the memory of a sea sponge, so I tend to store my memories in physical possessions. Each of these Harry Potters is a gift from a friend or family member that reminds me how loved I am, or is a souvenir of a trip that I can think back on when I hold the book. (The one from my trip to Japan is far and away the wildest memory. It took us four trips up about 6 floors, one trip to the basement, and through a private elevator. The bookstore we bought it from hadn’t technically even opened yet; we just crashed their private opening. Then Harry Potter turned out to be shelved in “travel.”)

According to my booklist, I own forty-eight Harry Potter books, plus the three “textbooks” and one “Dear Mr. Potter.” That’s not too shabby! But there are more languages, and more adventures, waiting out there for me.

Gotta catch ’em all!

Do you have a collection? Why do you collect that thing? Are you a giant Harry Potter nerd? Let me know!

P.S. I’m now editing my mss so it actually reads like a story, not a stream-of-consciousness essay.

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